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Month: October 2017

Autumn Storytime 

I love books! I always have, and I love sharing them with children. When I was a nanny one of my favorite activities was a trip to the library for storytime and a bag full of books to bring home.

Because we have another baby in our home we are not able to get out and about right now. And unfortunately our library is not within walking distance, so storytime is up to me!

Repetition is the key to learning, and little ones love to hear the same stories over and over so I will usually use the same five books for a whole week. If one is a favorite I will keep it in rotation longer.

I don’t mind if the babies crawl around and play during storytime, they are still listening and they always come close for the books they love. Having said that, I do have a few tricks for holding their attention. Besides the obvious, picking age appropriate books and reading animatedly, I like to alternate stories with songs, often tied together, to keep babies engaged. I use props when I can and lots of motions! (Recently I’ve been using ASL as much as possible for my motions and have learned a lot from Tiny Signs.)

So here is a run through of our autumn-themed storytime from this week to give you an example:

  1. I always begin with a gathering song. “Open Shut Them” is my favorite.
  2. Peek-a Who” the babies love this one and I let each of them get a good look in the mirror at the end.
  3. This leads nicely into “One Little Owl” I used figures from our wooden forest animal set for this as well as the ASL sign for each animal.
  4. Next was “Leaves” a new favorite of mine. I used dried leaves we collected during an afternoon walk and dropped them carefully into my lap behind the book because babies grab things so quickly! (I’m thinking about getting some silk leaves so I can let the babies play with them.)
  5. So then I had the leaves ready to go for the rhyme “Five Little Leaves” which both delights and frustrates the babies as I whisk the leaves behind my back after letting them fall one by one. Seriously, I think I need to get those silk leaves!
  6. Quickly into “Fall” my little one’s favorite as she loves to feel the squirrel’s fur.
  7. When everyone is done touching I hold it open to the pumpkin page, bring out our mini pumpkin and sing “Five Little Pumpkins.” (I don’t like witches so we sing “there’s a shiver in the air” instead.)
  8. Next up, “The Busy Squirrel” I do the ASL sign for each animal. At the end I fall asleep too…
  9. And go right into “Hop Ol’ Squirrel” using my teeny beanie baby squirrel. (I have two complete sets of these and while they didn’t make me rich, they have been great fun for my little one.) I make the squirrel do all the actions I sing about, until he’s inevitably snatched by little hands for a snuggle.
  10. The final story is one sure to bring everyone back to the circle, “Baby Loves Fall!” The big flaps are just the right size for little fingers to lift and if I’m feeling particularly patient I will let everyone have a turn.
  11. The final song is “Dingle Dangle Scarecrow” which is short and sweet. I point at the scarecrow page from “Baby Loves Fall!” as I sing and shake my hands and feet like a scarecrow.
  12. Another round of “Open Shut Them” and then our stories end!

So not every storytime runs smoothly. This week we had one day where everyone pretty much engaged the whole time and we made it through all the stories. We have varying levels of success. But such is life. I just keep reading as much as possible.

How about you? Do you have any favorite fall books for little ones, or tips for story time with babies and toddlers? I’d love to know.

All the best,


PS, the amazon links are affiliate links.

Later that day…

So here’s the thing, when you’re not getting enough sleep sometimes it’s hard to keep things in perspective. It’s also especially important to care for yourself in other ways like eating well and finding even a bit of time for things you enjoy and trying not to spread yourself too thin. I’m not always the best at that last thing. 

I had rushed out the door this morning hungry and a bit frazzled and the whole thing (as you know) crashed and burned. Yes, I had had two breakfasts, but it was after 10:00 and I had been up since 4:00 and what I had eaten was a bowl of instant oatmeal and two pieces of toast. No protein, no fruit, just carbs. The reason I woke up at 4:00 before the baby? I was hungry. 

Then the not spreading yourself too thin. It probably wasn’t the most important thing to make it to the moms’ group when my house was a mess (which always stresses me out), I needed to go to the grocery store (but had a haphazard list and meal plan for the next week at best), and the baby and I had both had a rough morning. I realized this on the way and decided to just do the grocery shopping but I would’ve done better to stay at home a little longer. Let the baby nap in her crib, and either rest myself or tidy the kitchen. Either one of those options would’ve helped me feel better when we did head out.

So, lesson learned. (Maybe, hopefully.) After something to eat, a little nap, and some snuggles we’re both happier. And really, truly, and utterly I wouldn’t trade being my little girl’s mama for anything. Not even a full night’s sleep. 

My morning so far…

Woke up at 4:00 am, Baby shortly after. She ate for an hour and a half.

After breakfast with my husband I tried to go back to sleep for a while with said baby. She wasn’t interested. We both cried.

Cup of tea and second breakfast. She had more milk and fell asleep just long enough for me to almost get a whole shower in. Went through every ¾ sleeved top in my closet trying to find one that fits now that I’m nursing. No luck. 

Made it out the door with the kitchen still a mess just at the time the moms’ group we were going to was starting. Decided en route to skip it this week and just get the grocery shopping done. 

Currently parked outside the grocery store trying to decide what to do now that the baby fell asleep pretty much just as we were turning into the parking lot. May have cried a second time as I’m just a bit too tired to cope well with even small upsets at the moment.

Over my years as a nanny I’ve told so many moms so many times how much harder their job was than mine. I had no idea how right I was.